Rostov, Yaroslavl Region (Russia)

According to polyhobbies, Rostov is located 53 km southwest of Yaroslavl on the shores of Lake Nero. This is one of the oldest cities in Russia, which is part of the Golden Ring.

It is believed that Rostov appeared in 862, it is under this year that the city is mentioned in the Tale of Bygone Years. Tradition says that its name comes from the name of the founder – Growth. Yaroslav the Wise ruled Rostov from 988 to 1010. The city was given to him as an allotment by his father, Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich. During the time of Yaroslav the Wise, local residents were baptized in the waters of Lake Nero. They resisted innovations, so Christianity established itself in the Rostov land only in the 11th century, after which Rostov became the center of the diocese. Initially, the city was part of the Rostov-Suzdal Principality and was its capital until the middle of the 12th century. Later, in the era of feudal fragmentation, Rostov became part of the Vladimir Principality, and from 1212 became the capital of the independent Rostov Principality. At that time, the city was one of the largest cities in North-Eastern Russia. However, its development was suspended by the Tatar-Mongol invasion, in 1238 Rostov was burned down. Rostov detachments more than once raised uprisings against foreigners, they participated in the battle on the Kulikovo field in 1380. After the fall of the Tatar-Mongol yoke in 1480, Rostov was annexed to the Moscow principality, but still continued to be the largest church center. In the 16th century through Rostov passed the trade route to the north to Arkhangelsk, which greatly enriched it. At the beginning of the 17th century, the city was burned down by the Polish-Lithuanian invaders. Local residents put up heroic resistance to the enemy, but could not hold the line. After Rostov was liberated, extensive construction began here – powerful fortifications and stone temples were erected, which later united under the name of the Rostov Kremlin. At the end of the 18th century, the center of the Rostov-Yaroslavl diocese was moved to Yaroslavl, from that moment the decline of Rostov began. The status of a trading city was supported by the annual Rostov fair, where Rostov painted enamel was in the greatest demand. Enamel craft glorified the city far beyond the borders of the state. According to the provincial reform of 1778, Rostov became the county center. Today Rostov is one of the most popular cities of the Golden Ring, its history is captured in the richest collection of monuments of ancient Russian art.

The greatest interest in the city is the Rostov Kremlin, which stands in its central part on the shore of Lake Nero. Until the end of the 18th century, the residence of the bishops of the Rostov-Yaroslavl diocese was located on this territory. Most of the buildings of the Kremlin complex were erected at the end of the 17th century. They are all around Cathedral Square.

The most majestic building of the Kremlin is the Assumption Cathedral. It was built in 1508-1512. The five-domed 60-meter Cathedral is made of brick, and the plinth is made of white stone. Its outer walls are decorated with arcade-columnar belts. The relics of the Apostle of the Rostov Land – St. Leonty, who converted the local residents to Christianity, the relics of St. Isaiah, the relics of St. Ignatius the Wonderworker, the relics of the nephew of St. Sergius of Radonezh – Archbishop Theodore, are stored in the Cathedral, and the hero-martyr Prince Vasilko is also buried here. Belfry¬†rises next to the Assumption Cathedral(1682-1687). There are 15 bells preserved in the four-domed belfry. After the completion of its construction, Moscow craftsmen cast 2 bells – “Polyeleiny” weighing 16 tons and “Swan” weighing 8 tons. In 1688, the largest bell of the belfry was cast – “Sysoy” weighing more than 30 tons. Nowadays, the Rostov chimes are a real treasure of world culture, the bells reproduce a unique set of musical works of the 17th-19th centuries.

Also, the structure of the Rostov Kremlin includes a two-story building of the Judgment Order (1650-1660), which, in addition to judicial functions, served as a center for the general administration of the diocese. Very beautiful are the Holy Gates (the main entrance to the metropolitan courtyard), over which stands the gate church of the Resurrection (1670). Of interest are the Metropolitan mansions, the Red Chamber (a complex of state choirs) and the White Chamber (dining room). In the Church of the Savior on the Senya, which was the home church of Metropolitan Jonah, wall paintings of the late 17th century have been preserved. The gate church of John the Theologian (one of the last buildings from the time of Metropolitan Jonah) is decorated with frescoes depicting scenes from the life of John the Theologian and Abraham of Rostov. In addition, it is worth looking at the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Hodegetria” made in the Moscow Baroque style and at the strict, without unnecessary decorations Church of St. Gregory the Theologian.

In 1883, the “Museum of Church Antiquities” was opened within the walls of the Rostov Kremlin, which today has become the State Museum-Reserve “Rostov Kremlin”. Its collection includes unique collections of icons, Old Russian facial embroidery, paintings and drawings of the 18th-20th centuries, Old Russian manuscripts and documents. The exposition is very interesting – the Enamel Museum. Miniature painting on finift (enamel) is a craft that glorified Rostov far beyond the borders of the state. In ancient times, painted enamel was used to decorate tableware, utensils, weapons and church utensils. Basically, Rostov masters were engaged in painting icons, inserts for church books and utensils. Now the museum has collected about 2,500 miniatures of the 18th-20th centuries.

The Nativity Monastery is located not far from the Kremlin. It was built at the end of the 14th century from wood. Stone construction began here only at the end of the 17th century. The miraculous Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God, richly adorned with pearls and precious stones, is kept in the monastery. Now it is a nunnery.

In the western part of Rostov, one can see the ensemble of the Spaso-Yakovlevsky Monastery. The Spaso-Yakovlevsky Monastery appeared on the shores of Lake Nero in 1389 under Bishop Jacob. In the monastery cathedral church of the Conception of St. Anna, the relics of Bishop Jacob and St. Dmitry of Rostov, as well as personal belongings of Dmitry of Rostov, are kept.

A little to the north is the Trinity-Sergius Varnitsky Monastery. It was founded in 1427 and completely rebuilt in 1614. The monastery is made in the style of classicism. The remains of the upper part of the classicist iconostasis and significant fragments of 19th-century murals have been preserved in its interior.

On the eastern outskirts of the city stands one of the most ancient monasteries of North-Eastern Russia – Avraamievsky Epiphany Monastery (11th century). According to legend, the monastery was built by the Monk Abraham to combat idolatry. In ancient times, a rod was kept here, with which Abraham crushed the Slavic idol of Veles. It is believed that this rod helped Ivan the Terrible during the siege of Kazan. In gratitude for his miraculous power, Ivan the Terrible ordered the construction of the Epiphany Cathedral in the Abrahamiev Monastery. It was erected on the analogy of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.

Rostov, Yaroslavl Region (Russia)